Lincoln County Tennessee
Letters from Forgotten Ancestors

A Bell Tolls in Fayetteville ~ 1848
Copyright © 1997, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Red circular postmark: Fayetteville, Tenn Jan 16, and blue manuscript rate Paid 10

Addressee: Miss Emily Ann Hill, Care of Mr. B. W. Merriam, 130 Chatham, New York.

At Home. January 15, 1848
My Daughter
It is rather to gratify your Mother than because I have anything to write, that I now take up the pen. - We the family are at present all in good health, excepting "bad colds", with which every individual is snuffing and sneezing most musically. We recently had some sudden changes of weather, which have resulted in colds very generally, and several cases of quinzy, some of which have been fatal. You was informed, I suppose of the death of Widow Russell and shortly after, her daughter, Mrs Owen ------ Since that Mary Slater died at Maj. Ross' & shortly after, parson Ebenezer McEwen, Mrs Ross' father was taken sick with the same complaint and died a few days ago. ------ William Ellis has also been very sick but is now recovering. Of matters and things in Town I think of nothing that can be of the least possible interest to you. I seldom go there unless compelled by calls of business ------ Last Saturday evening however, I went with your Mother & Catty over to Mr. Buchannan's. ------ A gallon of Molassses was forthwith sent for and preparations made for a Candy stew among the young ones. ------ Frank was sent over the creek for Willy and the way they pulled the Candy and " turned Good old Man of the house" was a caution to all observers. Mean while a storm came up of wind and rain and hail and snow, which compelled your Mother to remain all night, while I groped my way home in the dark. ------ Mary Jane received a letter from you a few days since, and was going to write you forthwith in reply ------ I gave her your address, to Care of Mr. Merriam, New York, supposing from your last letter that you would have leave Mason before another could reach you. We expect you are now in New York and if you left about the first of January as you expected to, it is time for us to have another letter, if you wrote before leaving Mason. We are very anxious to hear from you ------ A journey from Mason to New York in the winter is not the safest or most pleasant imaginable, & when we remembered that you are to go with one who is almost a stranger, we shall suffer some uneasiness on your account until we hear of your safe arrival. I received a letter from your Uncle Stearns a few days since, dated Christmas day. He then knew nothing about you, not had he heard from Mason since your Uncle Timothy was there. ------ I mail a letter from him about the 1st of this month by which you will hear from us shortly after your arrival, & Ebenezer wrote to you a few days afterwards . ------ Some of our merchants still calculate to be in Nw York in February and arraignments will be made for you to come home with them if you wish to ------ Mr. Webb & Mr. Morgan are going at that time, and perhaps some others. Capt. Goodrich will probably be a month later. ------ I am in a hurry now, but shall probably write to you or your Uncle Edward in a few days. ------ I regret it very much, but at present see no prospect of your having music lessons in New York ------ possibly I might arrange for the expenses if you had Recollect and tell your Uncle Edward I want him to take you to Mr. Thornburn's seed store in New York, and I should be glad if his business will admit of it, for him to go with you to Prinee's Nurseries and gardens at Flushing. -
Sunday, Jan 16.-We were somewhat disappointed yesterday at receiving no letter from you. If you wrote again from Mason before leaving as you expected about the 1st , it is high time for it to reach us. We are indeed very uneasy & shall be still more so, if the next mail by which we expect to send this, does not bring in one from you. Perhaps you have been enjoying enjoying some genuine Yankee Winter weather. Last Sunday and Monday the weather was very cold ------ now however it is warm, and peach buds are swelling ------ the hyacinths and other early plants are just peeping through the ground, and almost everything just now presents the appearance of opening Spring. We shall probably finish folding and stitching Almanacs for 1848 this week, and one more weeks ride by Ebenezer to Lynchburg, Bush Grove, Manchester, McMinnville, Jasper, and Bellefonte, will wind up the business for the present. ------
Tuesday, Jan 18. --- All in the usual health this morning ------ nothing new of importance ------ Another death in Maj. Ross' family, a Negro woman, ------ & the bell is now tolling for some funeral in town, have not heard whose ------ We shall all be much disappointed if no letter reaches us today from you as from your Uncle Stearns ------ I have learnt that Mr Morgan and perhaps Mr. Webb will start for New York between the first and middle of February. I intend to give them a letter of instruction to Mr. Merriam, and write to Bro. Stearns to look out for their arrival. ------ You shall have the opportunity of seeing them at least, and perhaps of returning with them if you wish to. ------ Give our respects to Sister Adeliza, Mr Merriam & to Bro Stearns, & Sister Catherine and a kind remembrance to each individual of their family.
Your Father

Signed: E. Hill
P.S. Ebenr has just observed that he will write to you in a few days.

Quinzy, also spelled quinsy: an early term for Tonsillitis. An abscess between the tonsil and the muscle of the pharynx. It can cause trouble with breathing and swallowing. The patient is toxic, very sick and with a high temperature. The inability to open the jaw, is a common occurrence with this illness.

Widow Russell tentatively identified as Mary Russell, died 18 Dec 1847, wife of James Russell, died 30 Oct 1842. First Presbyterian Church-Old City Cemetery, Fayetteville, Tennessee.

Mrs Owen tentatively identified as Sophronia M. Owen, died 23 Dec 1847, wife of General T. A. Owen, died 1 Jul 1855. First Presbyterian Church-Old City Cemetery, Fayetteville, Tennessee.

" Ebenezer Hill [newspaper publisher] . . . published Hill's Almanac for a great many years, making it a part of the standard literature of southern Tennessee and northern Alabama." History of Tennessee . . ., Lincoln County chapter, p. 779. Goodspeed Publishing Co., Nashville, 1886.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot

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15 May 1998